In the ever changing world of technology it is so easy to fall into the trap of being a product based salesperson instead of a solutions based salesperson. As a seasoned salesperson, here are a couple of reasons why I think this happens:

  1. Manufacturers come in with their latest and greatest products, dazzle us with potential earnings and put a quota on our company.
  2. There is always pressure to produce, especially in a field with declining margins and growing quotas.

When the above drive your sales everyone is happy, right? Your manufacture is happy, your company is happy and your customer is happy. Until your customer is not happy, because instead of buying a solution they were convinced to buy a product, one that might not have been in their price range and now there is no money to buy other products they need.   This is also known as the pressure sales approach, which does not tend to make a customer for life.

How do we keep ourselves from falling to this trap? By becoming a solutions based salesperson. A salesperson who walks into a customer appointment with one thing in mind – developing A Customer for Life.  This is done by researching your customer: their needs, the financial stability, the size of their organization and be aware of their surroundings. Do they have a lot of fancy state of the art products? Is their parking lot full of luxury cars or standard cars? What is the attire of employees? These are the KPI’s on what and how they buy. If their KPI’s aren’t apparent, have them talk about themselves. This will tell you a lot about their habits. Then move into your reason for your visit. Keep in mind you have a window of 20-30 minutes before you lose them. Find out what they have, why it does not work for them or how it falls short.

Next, find out where they are in the buying process. Are they ready to move forward or just getting budgets? Based on their timeline tell them you will get back with them with a solution. Do not tell them which product you think will work best because that sends the message you are selling product and not solution. Taking the facts they gave you and your observations of the person and facility to help you determine which solution would best fit their needs makes you well on your way to creating A Customer for Life. You are now the driver and the leader and we all know the drivers know the destination and passengers are just along for the ride.